“Business closed” order issued for Portage Theater at Six Corners following reported “rave party” with 200-plus attendees
by BRIAN NADIG
The city Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection on Aug. 27 posted a "business closed" sign on the box office of the unlicensed Portage Theater, 4052 N. Milwaukee Ave., in connection with what police described as an "illegal" rave party.
A department spokesperson said that enforcement actions will be taken after the entity responsible for hosting the event has been determined. An online video of the party shows a large gathering inside the theater.
The Chicago Police Department Office of Communications said that the party is being investigated as a "criminal to trespass to land incident."
A man working for a sound equipment company at the event told responding officers that it was being put on by a company which promotes itself as holding underground rave parties in abandoned buildings, police said.
A representative for the sound company told officers that he had no idea who hired the company and who the event organizers were, police said.
The theater was sold several years ago, with reported plans to renovate it but has remained closed with no active public place of amusement license since early 2018. The previous owner surrendered the theater’s operating licenses to the city.
Officers reported that at 11:45 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 26, they saw a suspicious-looking man wearing a mask and black hooded sweatshirt trying to lock the theater’s front entrance from inside the building, police said.
The officers then went to the rear of the property and gained entry, and they reported seeing "200-plus individuals along with a DJ and sound equipment and rave party taking place," according to police.
Officers cleared the building, and no arrests were made, police said. There appeared to be damage to a rear door of the theater, possibly from an attempt to force it open, police said.
The city Department of Buildings on Aug. 27 issued a "no entry" order for the theater’s interior.
The Portage building complex includes the historic theater and its lobby, several storefronts and dozens of apartments. The residential portion and some of the storefronts reportedly are owned by an entity not associated with the theater.
The theater opened in 1920.